Eyeball on Fire

Preface: I use disposable contact lenses. The suggested period for their use is two weeks. I generally treat this “suggested period” the same way I treat the expiration date on milk: it’s basically a general guideline and it’s probably OK to keep using it until it’s obviously not.

For reasons unknown to us (probably laziness) Lynnette and I have yet to order our new contacts. I knew a month or two ago that I was down to my last two pairs, so I decided that I would be “extra careful” in using them. No, I don’t know what that could possibly mean, either. Anyway, I’d been running the last set pretty hard, and I think what finally did them in was the grading at weird hours that I did over the last four days of fall break. The lens in my left eye felt strange in particular – like it no longer fit my eye or something. But I really needed to get that grading done and I don’t like wearing my glasses, so I soldiered on.

By the middle of work Monday, both eyes were irritated, so I kept removing the contacts, moistening them with solution, then shoving them back in there. By last period I could barely keep my left eye open. I ripped the contact out and on my drive home. “There’s something wrong with my eye,” I said stoically when I got home. “Let me see it,” Lynnette said. She said something unfit for print in an outlet as classy as this. It was really red. It was weepy. It was as if only half of my face watched This is Us.

unnamedI went to our eye doctor who advised me to: order new contacts, stick to the two-week limit, and not wear glasses for a week. “What’s wrong with it?” I asked of my crimson orb. “Oh, so the contact just sucked everything to the front of the eyeball. It’s inflamed,” she said. “Oh,” I said.

So, now. the unintended consequence of having to wear glasses is that I have to get a haircut sooner than I wanted to. I have a fat head and my glasses are pretty snug around the sides of said fat head. The arms of the glasses tramp down on my hair, but make the hair around it stand up. When I take the glasses off, it looks the same way the grass at a park does when I lift up the blanket we were sitting on and I can see the unseemly imprint of my butt cheeks.

“Ho, not the glasses, ah?” a student has already said. “Whoa, I thought you were Mr. Chan!” a student has already said. “Ho, you and Mr. Chan! Braddaaaaaaahhhz!” a student has already said. One more week of this.

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Fall Break 2017: Epic Cousin Time

My dad and brother Matty were home today so we kicked of Fall Break by hanging out with the two of them and Declan. We brought over Declan’s birthday gift – an enormous inflatable pool/play area complete with a slide.

DCIM101GOPROG0613892.Declan likes his gift. He killed it going down the slide. By the end of it, he was climbing all over the place, moving between the two pools, and shooting his cousins with the water hose. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a month age advantage play out as boldly as it did today. Declan moves quicker than Cole and Avery. He also seems to lack the aversion to cold water that Cole and Avery possess. Well, he is the progeny of one Matty Higa, so there’s a chance he’s just a mad man. It isn’t out of the question.

23Twenty minutes into the water fun, I left to pick up McDonald’s for lunch. It was probably for the best that none of the 3 Mrs. Higas were present for what some are already calling “French Fry Fest ’17.”

When I got back, Cole was already out of the pool. As soon as he saw the bags of food, he shrieked and took them from me as I dangled them over the patio wall. Avery squirmed and fussed in Matty’s arms. “Why is she angry?” I asked. “She didn’t want to come out of the pool,” he said. “Just put her back,” I said. “Really?” he said. “Yeah.” By then I had set Cole up with a box of fries on the patio stairs. Mad got her food. “Avery? You want french fries?” I shouted, holding one in the air for her to see. She screamed dramatically from the pool, then made her way to the patio. By then, though, Cole had set himself up as the keeper of the fries. Avery tried to reach into the box, but Cole Dikembe Mutombo’d her every attempt. I had to set up a little napkin with chicken nuggets and fries for Avery.

That was my second favorite part of the day. The first came when Cole left his seat to get a drink. Avery saw the void to her right and slid over to the exposed carton of fries. When Cole came back, he pointed at the box and made shrieking/crying noises. It was hilarious. “Move your feet, lose your seat, suckah!” I said, probably with a little too much glee. My dad hooked him up with some fries to keep the peace.

It was a gorgeous day and we can only hope the weather gods continue to gift us with such incredible conditions for the rest of the week.

Homecoming Pep Rally 2017

Cole and Avery are still too young to bring to Damien football games. I have already visualized what bringing them to Aloha Stadium – or any stadium for that matter – would mean. Cole recklessly ascending and descending the stairs for the duration of the game. Avery climbing the chairs and stopping on the metal bleachers or flooring as hard as she possibly could. The only silver lining would be some good cardio. I hate cardio.

But, I figured they might be old enough to attend the Homecoming pep rally on campus. They could run around in my classroom beforehand, then run around on the grass area atop the hill during the actual event. Sounds great, right?

IMG_3074

Some Windex will get that right out.

IMG_3079

The Most Avery thing possible.

It really was great. Lynnette picked up McDonald’s on the way to the school, but Cole and Avery were so excited to run around the wide open classroom that they didn’t eat immediately. Cole climbed into and out of a few desks. Whenever a student entered or exited, he ran towards the door in an attempt to break out of the room. Once Madison finished her meal, she started drawing on the whiteboards. I asked Madison to help Cole do the same. She was doing a great job of it until she got distracted (as always) and Cole wrote on the wall and door. I’ll be scrubbing that out very soon. Thanks, Cole Boy.

Not to be outdone, Avery spent the afternoon being Avery. Her supernatural sonar somehow located the loudest desk (mine) in the room; she started banging its side with both hands. I laughed. She’s so predictable in this way. A few moments later, climbed over the rod under the desk repeatedly in what I can only assume was her version of a playground. Eventually, my little daredevil made it to every corner of the room, exploring areas under, behind, and atop desks, all while clutching a half-piece of a chicken nugget. That’s simply how she rolls, baby.

IMG_3097Madison accompanied me during my failed defense of my water balloon toss title. She finally got a cup of Kona Ice.

She, Lynnette, and I took turns tailing Cole and Avery back and forth along the top of the hill. At some point Cole found the stairwell closest to the cafeteria and decided that going up and down them was all he wanted to do with the rest of his night. I took this picture of the flame-engulfed DM from the area right outside of Mr. Aina’s office while pinning Cole to the railing with my knees, an act which I would describe as tender, true, and bold.

Cole and Avery had such a great time that that whined the whole way back to the parking lot and screamed at Lynnette and me when we tried to put them in their car seats. They didn’t want to leave! Thank you to all of the faculty and students who made last night such a wonderful time for my family. Thank you especially to those co-workers, students, and parents who made time to hang out with my family. I really appreciate it.

Go Monarchs!

The Updated Sleep Assignments for School Year 2017-2018

We’ve had some slight movement since the school year began. It’s not ideal, but it works.

IMG_3031Master Bedroom: Lynnette, Cole, and Abby. 

Pros: I no longer get punched and kicked in the face; I don’t have to sleep on a 6-inch edge section of the bed. I don’t wake Cole up when I get up in the morning or any of the 17 times I get up to take a leak in the middle of the night.

Cons: I can’t remember the last time I cuddled with my wife for longer than 15 minutes.

Lynnette and I tried to work it out. Somewhere during the summer I got tired of getting ninja kicked and elbowed in the face by Cole and declared my intention to sleep on the couch. It was hot, though. “No, stay here,” Lynnette said. “Why? It’s not like we can cuddle, anyway. He sleeps between us,” I said. There was a beat of silence. “Why don’t you put Cole there against the railing, you sleep in the middle, then I’ll sleep here at the edge?” I asked. “No,” Lynnette said. “Why?” I asked. She laughed. “Because I noticed he tends to roll this way,” she said, pointing in her direction.

IMG_3027The Twins’ Room: Madison and Avery. 

Pros: Madison has a roommate; Avery has a chaperone; I can sleep in a bed.

Cons: None

Two months ago, Avery was the best sleeper in the house (in the kids category). Lynnette would take 15 minutes to sing Avery to sleep, and even if she wasn’t completely asleep, Avery would settle herself down for the night. For reasons known only to her – like everything else she does – Avery began reacting violently to Lynnette leaving the room, even after the latter sang the former “Part of Your World”. Avery figured out how to launch herself out of her crib. It was like the greatest one-up I’ve ever seen a child pull. Oh, yeah? You gonna leave me in here by myself? Watch this! She ended up crying on the floor of her room one night. On another, Lynnette frantically yelled that she couldn’t see Avery on the monitor. I opened the door to find the Gravy Boat perched on the ottoman in the room. She was crying.

A few weeks ago when we were still trying to win, I put Avery in her crib and lay down next to it on a futon mattress. She climbed to the top rope and didn’t even both to wait for me to get up. “NOOOOOO!” I yelled and she jumped and hit me with the frog splash. She has no fear of anything in this mortal world except for the vacuum. Avery forced our hand. Lynnette converted the crib into a toddler bed which now doubles as Cole’s trampoline. But since Madison sleeps in the room, Avery has a cuddle buddy, which thankfully mitigates some of the trouble Avery can get into in the middle of the night.

IMG_3032Madison’s Room: me.

Pros: Uninterrupted sleep.

Cons: Navigating a minefield of Madison’s stuff every single one of the 17 times I get up in the middle of the night to take a leak; I don’t have anyone to spoon; it’s the hottest room in the house.

It’s not a terrible arrangement. No one bothers me and there’s memory foam on the mattress. I have my iPad charger in the wall adjacent to the bed and just this weekend I moved my iPhone dock alarm clock in. The room is pink and decorated with a number of Disney Princesses and their animal sidekicks. There are toys all over the place. I have to slant the mattress slightly off the frame so that I can use the iPad charger against the wall. But, but, but. NO ONE BOTHERS ME. I have tried several times to have the best of both worlds and seduce Lynnette into cuddling with me, but it never lasts longer than a few minutes. People start looking for us. Mostly Lynnette. But still.

Someday I will tell you when I get to sleep in my own bed again. Someday.

SNES Classic!

First thing’s first: I gotta shout out Kapono, a world-class line-waiter who hooked me up with an SNES Classic. Kapono is a first-ballot Black Friday Hall of Famer and he’s coming to a Best Buy near you. It was great to see you and Dawn – even if our kids had no idea what was happening.

I am most excited to play Super Mario World for incredibly nostalgic reasons. I started with Street Fighter II Turbo, but the rust was too strong. Madison wandered into the room to see what all the fuss was about so I switched to Mario Kart in hopes of hooking her. Well, she’s in the bedroom playing games by herself, so I’d say mission accomplished.

At some point, Lynnette found us and got in on the action. I had more fun watching the two of them play than playing myself.

1Mario Kart – If this afternoon as any kind of indication of Madison’s driving prowess, I am not looking forward to teaching her how to drive in her teen years. Mad couldn’t stay on the road and showed significantly delayed reactions. The turns would show themselves in the distance and Madison wouldn’t bother to turn until well after she’d reached the dirt. Then, when she actually tried to turn, she’d completely overcompensate until she was moving in the wrong direction. It was pretty amusing to watch her turn the controller over left and right like a steering wheel, though. Lynnette also showed some signs of rust, making wide turns and skidding into obstacles repeatedly. She’s a much better driver in real life, thank goodness.

2Street Fighter II Turbo – I never knew Lynnette ever had any kind of interest in fighting games. Honestly, I don’t think she does, she just wanted to beat someone at something, even if it was her 9-year old daughter. Lynnette quickly picked Chun-Li leaving Madison flustered to choose between all-male fighters. “You can pick Chun-Li, too, Mad,” Lynnette said. But that would have required Madison to know what the hell a Chun-Li is. “I’ll just pick this guy,” Mad said, opting for Vega – possibly because he has long hair. Once the bout was underway, It was clear Lynnette would get her victory. Madison has not played video games much over the course of her life and this lack of life experience manifests itself in her inability to use both hands at the same time. She can move her fighter or make her fighter punch/kick, but not simultaneously. Lynnette dispatched with Madison quickly, refusing to give seconds. Just a classless, disgusting act.

3Super Mario World -Lynnette totally redeemed herself while playing this classic. Lynnette understands the premise of the game and has played it before, but she’s not very good at it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a video game savant. I’m not good, either. But Lynnette is HILARIOUS. She lifts her hands and swings her arms when she wants Mario to jump. She was so excited to have found Yoshi, then immediately ran into a Koopa which sent Yoshi running. This triggered a 30-second sequence during which Lynnette attempted to jump on Yoshi repeatedly and went from Caped Mario to Super Mario to Mario and nearly died before finally, mercifully getting back on Yoshi. Madison couldn’t stop laughing. “C’mon, Mom! she said between snorts.

“Watching you trying to get back on Yoshi was the saddest thing I’ve ever seen,” I said to Lynnette over dinner. “Oh really? Sadder than the Mets losing the World Series in 2015?” she shot back. We’re still married and Lynnette’s still alive. But still. Just a classless, disgusting act.

Sorry Not Sorry

Lynnette doesn’t want me to post this picture or any of the others that came out of today’s impromptu kitchen photo shoot. I took a few pictures of the kids, then turned the camera on her. “Philip!” she shouted. “C’mon!” I shouted back. I guess her deep-seated modeling instincts took over because she furiously banged out a series of textbook poses. She wants to keep these images a secret, but obviously not because she looks terrible in them. I mean, just look at her:

5I would wash the hell out of those dishes.

I suppose the reason Lynnette threatens my life  whenever I tease posting photos like this one is that she has to keep up appearances. She’s got to maintain that veneer of sophistication and professionalism, two things I wouldn’t even pretend. Okay, maybe I would pretend the second. Five times a week. From 8:00 to 2:35. But you get what I mean. Lynnette’s got to keep up appearances and while I am certain I will hear my name screamed in anger at some point later tonight, I’m going to expose her anyway.

A long time ago, Lynnette figured out before I did that one of the things I was looking for in a partner was simply someone to play stupid games with. I still remember when she said it aloud for the first time. “Whaaaaat?!” I said in a pitch several octaves higher than my normal voice. “It’s true. You just want somebody who will go along with your dumb ideas.” She was right. It blew my mind. I thought about my entire existence as a young adult and holy crap, she was right.

Lynnette isn’t silly by nature. She’s got it in her, but it’s not her default setting in the same way it is for other people like her husband. We don’t have the same sense of humor; the only thing that we can agree is consistently funny is the randomness of our family life. She will say and do silly things, but 90% of the time, only if they are jokes at my expense. Her silly side has to be coaxed outside, encouraged, and celebrated. Basically, I have to treat Lynnette’s silliness the same way I would try to get Cole and Avery (and, if we’re being honest, Madison too) to look and smile at the camera. After being with Lynnette for so long, I know that it’s easier for her to keep the silly side locked up rather than let it out. But sometimes she lets it out anyway. Just for me. That’s real love, right there, when you put yourself out there for the person you love. It’s true and real and deserves to be exposed.

I love you, Lynnette. Thanks for going along with so many of my dumb ideas.

Wednesday is For the Family

Madison has dance class every Wednesday and this single wrinkle in our weekly schedule is solely responsible for what might be the best family dinner of the week. I try to stay at work twice a week to grade a bunch of stuff. There are always a ton of dishes to be done when we cook dinner. But on Wednesday night, the sink is empty.

On Wednesdays I head to Costco to make the run before Mad’s dance class ends. I go to Costco, then I go to Shay’s Restaurant, then I go to Coffee or Tea?, then I double back to get Madison, then I drive home and pick up something for Madison and/or me.

124You see, the very best part of Wednesday night dinner is the total lack of prep work. Lynnette, Madison and I carry the food and Costco items upstairs, put them away, then tear our food our of their packaging.

Cole was napping when Madison and I got home. By the time I got upstairs, Avery had a fry in her mouth and was standing next to Cole. She started kicking him in the head. Ordinarily, Cole would have awoken in a rage like some long-slumbering dragon isolated for years in a silent and pitch black cave. But since french fries were involved, he popped up and pointed at the McDonald’s bag and shouted some nonsense like an in-his-prime Peyton Manning singling out the middle linebacker and audibling into four verts against a single high safety look.

Avery still likes chicken nuggets, so she’ll eat those, but Cole is a purist. He only wants to eat the fries. I should have taken video of his face while eating his fries. I can only assume this is exactly what my own face looks like when I inhale sushi.

Madison’s graduated to 8/9 piece Chicken McNugget meals which aren’t on the menu but are basically her own 6-piece and however many Cole and Avery leave behind. She’s also started to make a dent in her french fry carton so maybe she’s grown an appetite in addition to the whatever that necessitated the purchase of her bras. I can’t even bring myself to type it, shake my head.

Obviously, not pictured is my meal which sadly did not align with my food goals. I would say that today was a “cheat day”, but that would imply it is somehow different from any of the other days. It’s not. I have no discipline.

3McDonald’s is several tiers beneath Lynnette so I pick up her dinner from Shay’s Restaurant. This is how she gets her Filipino food kick since neither I nor Madison particularly enjoy eating it. She texts me her order and I pick it up. She deserves this kind of special treatment since she is such a diligent mother. Also, look how cute she in her fancy top with that rope thing! We’ve been together for so long that sometimes I forget how lucky I am to have swindled her into marrying me. Sometimes when I’m walking with Lynnette through a mall as I hold her hand, I think about this exact con job and start walking with a limp, with one foot tilted inward. I take a few steps like this and gradually straighten my leg and walk normally. “What’s wrong?” she’ll ask if she sees it. “Nothing,” I say. And like that *blows on fingers* he’s gone.

Anyway, the highlight of tonight’s dinner was Avery’s steadfast refusal to give me a high-five. She gave Lynnette a high-five. She gave Madison a high-five. I tried unsuccessfully a bunch of times. In fact, she seems to be trolling me. She’d slowly extend her hand before drawing it back. I would exaggerate my disappointed reaction, she’d clap and squeal. She’s like a savant who has a preternatural understanding of how to piss me off and/or hurt my feelings. She really is my little PITA Girl. But eventually: